Grief is the price we pay for love. It’s been a little over four months now, and people often ask me how I’m doing. The automatic response is, “I’m doing OK,” but that’s hardly the truth. It’s a lot easier to say that and smile than it is to describe how sad I am and how much I miss Shelley. So I grieve privately.

I just don’t understand how such a sweet, gentle and happy woman could be taken from us so early. Shelley was special. She meant so much to so many people.

As a tutor, she was more than a teacher. She was also a friend. She often worked with students who had given up – students who were convinced they’d never “get it.” Shelley had a certain magic to not only get those students to pass Regents exams but to gain confidence about themselves.

And for me? She was the light of my life, because she loved life. She brought me happiness because she found happiness in so many of the simple things that so many of us are just too busy to see.

So here we go – here comes another one of those firsts. They say the first birthday, anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays and special occasions are always the toughest in the first year after someone passes away. That sure is the truth. I didn’t handle our wedding anniversary very well when it came up a little over a month ago.

The next one of those firsts is Shelley’s birthday. Along with Christmas, those two days were her favorite days of the year.

Someone suggested that instead of mourning her loss, I should celebrate her life. In the famous words of Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

It’s a tough thing to do when you hurt so much, but I’m going to give it a good try. So on this July 3rd to my angel in heaven, Happy Birthday Shelley, I love you.